I Arrive in Dover – Part II

 Ξ  From the Journal of Edward F. Rochester ~ 1825  Ξ 

~ “But why should I not have made such an attempt, Edward? For besides the child and her nurse, there is now a governess for her.” ~

“Ah, Mrs. Fairfax has been successful, then?”

He nodded. “I did mention that in my letter.”

“Some hardened, upright spinster to correct every French defect, I suppose?”

“No, not a spinster, but a young woman. She arrived in October, I believe.”

“You have met her, then?”

“No, but when I had tea with Mrs. Fairfax in November, she mentioned the new governess: a pleasant young woman possessed of fine tutorial gifts. Seems they often spend the evenings together.”

“That is one benefit, at least. She is good company for my housekeeper.”

“You simply couldn’t be bothered to let an old friend in on yet another Rochester secret, eh? I must discover these things for myself?” He shook his head. “After all these years, am I not to be trusted?”

I looked away, ashamed. “I feared you would ask me to relinquish the plan, and I was in such a damned hurry to be back to the Continent. Perhaps it was imprudent, even cowardly of me, but I knew you would have questions, would demand explanations…”

“But a child! Edward, for God’s sake! Where on earth did you pick her up?”

I winced. “That, as you so plainly suggest, is what I did not do. Be patient, Carter, and you will hear the whole story, just as I promised in my letter. But as to circumstances…let me just say it was rather more a case of her being left on my hands.”

“I see,” he replied, shaking his head, a deuced, all-knowing smile on his face.

“James, you must believe me. The child is not my daughter.”

“That is precisely the conclusion everyone else will draw, Edward. And on the face of it, the supposition is not unjustifiable, I daresay. Are you aware of the rumors?”

“Of course. There are always rumors,” I replied bitterly. “It is the way of things. People’s lives are so pathetic they have nothing better to ponder each day than hearsay and scandal. When one day a little French girl arrives at the house of an English country gentleman, the natural assumption is of course, that she is my bastard daughter. It merely adds to the mysteries associated with Edward Rochester and Thornfield Hall.” I laughed. “I would be disappointed if such an event did not set all the tongues to wagging. I don’t give a damn for the opinion of others, Carter, only yours. Truly, I cannot abide that you would unjustly condemn me.”

“What else should I conclude? You have been very close over the years, and yet I have gleaned much from our rare conversations and the scattered letters I have received. You have wandered the globe, living at Paris, Naples, Rome, St. Petersburg for God’s sake! The very edge of civilization. Living with mistresses…well, surely, the child belongs to one of them.”

“No, Carter, no. I plead my innocence, and I beg you would believe me. I am not Adele’s father.”

~ I Arrive in Dover – End of Part II ~

© 2016 by R.Q. Bell and Imaginality Press; All rights reserved.

Series Navigation<< <i>I Arrive in Dover – Part I</i><i>I Arrive in Dover – Conclusion</i> >>

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